After being called up, then sent down, then called up again, then sent down again, Jason Garrison has once again been called up to the NHL and will likely be in the lineup tonight in Calgary.
To the novice, it seems like George McPhee just can’t seem to figure out what he wants to do with Garisson, but in reality, he’s actually doing the smartest thing possible to make sure he has a sixth defenseman on the NHL roster for as long as possible while Merrill, Sbisa, and McNabb are all hurt; while also not taking the risk of losing Garrison on waivers.
Let me explain.
In the NHL, if you want to send a player to the AHL he must clear waivers unless he’s waiver exempt, which 33-year-old Garrison is not. When the Golden Knights originally sent Garrison down to Chicago on October 28th, he had to pass through waivers. In short, that means any team could have taken Garrison and his contract without giving Vegas anything in return (see Malcolm Subban & Ryan Carpenter). Presumably, he was not claimed in October because of his $4.6 million cap hit.
Thus, by clearing waivers, Garrison remained property of the Golden Knights, and was eligible to play in the AHL for the Chicago Wolves.
Then, on January 16th, Garrison was recalled to the NHL. The rule on when he has to pass through waivers again is as follows…
The Player has not played in ten (10) or more NHL Games cumulative since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared, and more than thirty (30) days cumulative on an NHL roster have not passed since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared. -NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
So what does that mean? It means the Golden Knights can freely send Garrison to and from Vegas to Chicago without him having to clear waivers until he plays 10 NHL games or more than 30 days have passed while he is on the NHL roster.